By P. Ramakrishnan
On June 7, 2023, Pas President, Hadi Awang, audaciously exerted, “… non-Muslims should be grateful that they have been given “a place” in this country…
Hadi clearly enjoys courting criticism for his outlandish comments – or is it a case of Hadi not caring about what he says.
His comments are mostly devoid of truth and full of blatant lies – totally unbecoming of a political leader who is seen as a religious scholar.
Though he projects himself as a holy man, he comes across as being neither religious nor pious and his comments do him no credit to enhance his reputation as a principled Muslim politician.
Malaysians would expect him to be responsible and sensible when he speaks. But he has shown scant respect for truth and, it seems, he deliberately misrepresents facts. Is it a political ploy to confuse the Muslim electorate to win over their support?
Be it as it may, the question arises: how could he be so horrendously wrong when it comes to simple facts and well-established political reality in the world? It is simply incredible that he could be so ignorant and stupid when he callously refers to other countries to claim credit for his view that non-Muslims should not play any role at all in the development of Malaysia.
His bewildering statement baffles us. On June 7, 2023, he audaciously exerted, “… non-Muslims should be grateful that they have been given “a place” in this country through the jus soli citizenship policy that he claimed would not be afforded everywhere else.”
Hello, we are not “given a place” – nobody does that!
Citizenship is our rightful birthright under the Federal Constitution. We are citizens by virtue of the fact that we are Malaysians. We are automatically citizens when we are born in Malaysia to Malaysian parents. No generous hand grants citizenship to us – it is our inherent right!
It is totally unacceptable for Hadi to state that non-Muslims should instead be grateful for being accorded the privilege to stay in this country. What rubbish is he talking about?
Isn’t he aware that without the three major communities coming together and agreeing to work together, there would have been no “merdeka” in 1957? The toils and spoils of other people’s struggles have placed Hadi in this position and instead of being grateful he is being insolent!
In continuing with his diatribe, Hadi foolishly stated, “They must accept the fact that most countries in the world do not give a place to anybody who is not native and does not believe in the country’s ideology, but Islam gives fair rights to non-Muslim residents who do not embrace Islam as the country’s creed.” This outlandish rhetoric has no basis in history, fact or law in Malaysia.
Under the Federal Constitution, we are not required to “embrace Islam” to qualify to be a citizen. Hadi is obviously talking nonsense! He woefully doesn’t understand what our fundamental rights are. He doesn’t have any respect for human rights.
As to his claim, “They (Malaysians) must accept the fact that most countries in the world do not give a place to anybody who is not native and does not believe in the country’s ideology …” – it’s a lot of hogwash!
How do you explain why millions of immigrants risk and undertake dangerous journeys to settle in the UK, Europe, Australia and elsewhere? These immigrants who are mostly Muslims go to Christian countries where they are eventually accorded citizenship without having to convert to Christianity or pledging to accept the ideologies of these countries.
The same goes for the Chinese and Indians who go to these countries and later become citizens. When they are citizens, no restrictions are imposed on them. They are accepted as equal citizens with the same rights and responsibilities.
Unsurprisingly, we have a Muslim who is the Mayor of London, an Indian who is the PM of UK, a Chinese who is Australia’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, a Vice-President of the USA who is an Indian. We have numerous examples of non-natives serving in various capacities and contributing to the growth and well-being of their adoptive countries. Their contributions are gratefully appreciated, in contrast to Hadi’s blinkered view!
Can Hadi name a single country in the world that does not give a place to anybody who is not native and does not believe in the country’s ideology? If he can’t, then he should stop insisting “most countries in the world do not give a place to anybody who is not native and does not believe in the country’s ideology.”
According to his absurd claim, this seemingly is widely prevalent in the world. I am just asking him to name just one such country! Will he oblige me?
Hadi doesn’t stop with this statement. He goes further and makes a fool of himself.
His stand that “only Malay-Muslims should lead, rule and administer a pluralistic society that includes non-Muslims” is outrageous! Hadi has no notion of democracy, he is absolutely ignorant about fairness, he knows nothing about justice, he blatantly disrespects the rights of citizenship.
Condescendingly, Hadi also said Malay-Muslims have afforded non-Muslims roles in other aspects that are unrelated to the Muslim faith, such as “allowing” them to hold positions in the Cabinet, State Executive Councils, and government departments.
“This is something that all ideologies have never allowed when governing their respective countries,” he claimed.
How could he choose, in the name of religion, to exclude and deny the inalienable right of non-Muslim citizens to be involved in the governance of their country? It is an unconscionable stand to take but that doesn’t bother him at all.
What does Hadi say about receiving taxes from the non-Muslims which pay for the upkeep of the nation? Should he in all good conscience receive his salary from money provided by the non-Muslims, some even coming from non-halal sources?
He not only displays his political ignorance, he also blatantly lied when he claimed that “the unity government is not fit to lead because it is ‘dominated’ by minorities” – meaning that the minority non-Muslims predominantly out-smart the Muslims in the cabinet. This is not supported by facts. It is a preposterous claim that exposes Hadi as a blatant liar!
Anwar’s cabinet has, if I’m not mistaken, seven non-Muslim ministers out of 28 full ministers and nine deputy ministers out of 27 deputies. How can these 16 ministers and deputies – out of the 55 in total – out-number and out-vote 39 others? It is ludicrous to claim that these minority numbers can dominate the majority.
But people who don’t know the facts would think that Hadi is right and swallow his rhetoric hook, line and sinker. When you are garbed in religious robes, you can be persuasive even when you are absolutely wrong and not telling the truth! But that doesn’t make you a saint!
Under Article 8 of the Federal Constitution, my equality is no less than Hadi’s. His responsibility to the nation is equal to mine. My rights are not diminished simply because Hadi is a Muslim. His rights are not enhanced just because I’m a non-Muslim. It’s important to realize that we are equal before the law.
Finally, in view of all that Hadi had said, it is pertinent to ask him, “Hadi, are you just ignorant or simply stupid”?
FIrst published at this link on 17 June 2013
(The views expressed are those of the contributor and do not necessarily reflect the views of Rebuilding Malaysia.)
P Ramakrishnan is the long-serving former president of Aliran who served three and a half decades on its executive committee, has been with Aliran since its inception in 1977. Now an ordinary Aliran member, he continues to highlight issues of public interest to a larger audience.
Ramakrishnan’s earlier article:
Hadi is at it again: lying and twisting and demonizing!